This article relies heavily on the summary of Mohammad Al Qahtani’s interrogation logs found in “Guantanamo and the Abuse of Presidential Power” by Joseph Marguiles, a defense attorney who has represented Guantanamo prisoners. I could not more highly recommend this book for those who are interested in understanding Guantanamo.
In June 2005, Time Magazine published a US military interrogation log of Mohammad Al Qahtani, documenting his interrogations at Guantanamo from late November 2002 through January 2003.
He was often woken up at 4 AM and interrogated until midnight. For 48 of the 54 days detailed in the document, Mohammad was interrogated 18 to 20 hours a day. If he fell asleep during the interrogation, he awoke to water being splashed on him.
He was repeatedly and deliberately dehumanized by his interrogators. He was told that, “no one loved, cared, or remembered him.” He was, “reminded that he was less than human and that animals had more freedom and love than he does.”
Afterward, he was, “taken to see a family of banana rats. The banana rats were moving around freely, playing, eating, showing concern for one another. Detainee was compared to the family of banana rats and reinforced that they had more love, freedom, and concern than he had. Detainee began to cry during this comparison.”
Mohammad was, “told a dog is held in higher esteem because dogs know right from wrong and know to protect innocent people from bad people. Began teaching the detainee lessons such as stay, come, and bark to elevate his social status up to that of a dog. Detainee became very agitated.”
His interrogators tied a leash to him and forced him to perform a series of dog tricks.
Military dogs were used, “in an aggressive manner” to scare him.
Mohammad told his interrogators that his religion forbids him from even speaking to a woman. He was made to stand naked in front of his interrogators, including women. He was repeatedly, “subjected to the close physical presence of a woman.” Twice, military police held him down while a female interrogator straddled him.
He was told his mother and sister were whores and that he was a homosexual. He was forced to dance with a male interrogator.
During an interrogation, he was not allowed to go to the restroom and peed his pants. The log says that afterward he began to, “understand the futility of his situation…. He is much closer to compliance and cooperation than at the beginning of the operation.”
During his interrogation, Mohammad Al Qahtani confessed to attempting to be a highjacker in the 9/11 attacks. While Mohammad has retracted this confession, the US military still believes that he attempted to be a highjacker on 9/11. As we will see, his torture has made it considerably more difficult to prosecute him for his alleged attempted role in the attack.
In 2007, President Bush said that the US, “does not torture.”